Published Thursday, 29 August 2013
The scene of the alert on Wednesday evening. (© Pacemaker)
Police and Army bomb experts were called to investigate in the Shimna Road area and nearby routes were closed overnight.
Bomb experts carried out a controlled explosion and the alert was declared a hoax.
All routes have now reopened to traffic.
SDLP MP Margaret Ritchie said she was "deeply concerned" after the discovery of the object.
"The people of South Down do not want to see this kind of threat to the safety of this community who long ago rejected the forces of terrorism when they endorsed the Good Friday Agreement.
"Orangemen are entitled to enjoy their premises as anyone else should be and unjustifiable threats of this nature are totally wrong."
An Orange Order spokesman condemned the hoax alert as "abhorrent".
"It is deeply concerning that an Orange hall, located in a residential area and a hub of community activity, should be a target for such sinister action," he said.
"This despicable act is an insidious form of sectarianism and a blatant attack on Protestant culture, which caused major disruption to local residents, businesses and tourism in the town. The building is in close proximity to a nursing home and band practice scheduled to take place in the hall was also cancelled.
"Despite such recklessness, the absurd actions of a minority should not deflect from the long established cross-community relations in Newcastle. We trust all public representatives will unite in their condemnation of this attack."
He added: "We would like to put on record our appreciation to the diligence and bravery of the security services and appeal to any witnesses to assist the police with their inquiries. Those responsible for this wicked deed must be brought to justice."
The Newcastle alert occurred 24 hours after a separate paint bomb attack on Clifton Street Orange Hall in Belfast.
© UTV News